Shabazz Muhammad is the No.2 ranked recruit in ESPN's rankings. His performance—a performance that earned him MVP honors in the 2012 McDonald's All-American game—validated that ranking.
In a game full of high school stars from all across the country, Muhammad was a cut above the rest. Even before the game tipped off, Muhammad's highly competitive nature was on full display. In a game where the vast majority of players are out to have a good time, laughing and joking amongst themselves, Muhammad stood out. During warm-up, he was completely focused on the game.
He was not laughing and joking with teammates. He was not high-fiving and smiling.
What he was doing was getting ready to dominate, and dominate he did.
Muhammad set the tone early by scoring 9 of the West's first 11 points including a three pointer, a dunk and converting an ally-oop pass from teammate Marcus Paige. In addition to his scoring, Muhammad was attacking the glass and playing with more intensity defensively than anybody else on the floor. The result was the West team jumping out to an early lead.
At the end of the first half, Muhammad had 15 points.
When the second half began, Muhammad would once again set the tone by sparking a run that would see the West increase its lead to 20 points before heading to the bench. With Muhammad on the bench, the East team would go on a run by increasing their defensive pressure, which resulted in multiple turnovers from the West. They would cut the lead down to 12.
Upon re-entering the game, Muhammad would drive into the paint and hit a floater to extend the West's lead back to 14. However, the East would not lay over and would continue their pressure defense.
The lead would get cut to five with 1:30 left, but Muhammad once again answered with a basket—this time a dunk off of a feed from Rasheed Sulaimon. This would be Muhammad's last bucket of the game as he would shortly exit the game for the final time and the West would end up coming away with a 106-102 point victory.
Muhammad would finish with 21 points and 6 rebounds but it was his demeanor on the court that stood out as much as his final stats.
Make no mistake about it, Shabazz Muhammad was a star amongst stars tonight.
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